Principle #2: Help what needs to die… to die and to “compost”, with the aim of fertilising and nourishing the Life that is to emerge. What kind of material are we talking about? For example, it could be past successes or failures, hopes or fears, a project you helped to realise and lead, a role in your organisation, a client, the city you live in… It is about letting die all that comes from the past, but that no longer serves to nourish the new that needs to be born. The process of composting is a good metaphor here: it reminds us that it’s not just about saying “it’s over” (principle 1), or cutting ourselves off from the past and letting it go rationally – it’s about engaging in a process of mourning that will eventually transform what is now dead, into resources for future life.


Examples for this second principle:


  • As a team, have debriefing sessions about the mistakes you have made – not to judge each other, but to learn collectively from them and not to let grudges or unspoken facts pollute team life;
  • Celebrating and honouring those products and services that brought great joy, pride and revenue in the past, but can no longer be part of the future;
  • If you have decided to go down a path of strong strategic reorientation, think of moments, rituals, symbols that honour and celebrate the past but also allow it to be left behind, rather than expecting people to understand and follow new ideas just because they make obvious business sense;
  • As a leader in your organisation, connect and share your emotions, (especially sadness and fear) about letting go of what you hold dear from this shared and collective past, even if you find the proposed future very attractive.


Principle #2 is at the service of Principle #1: it helps to process the letting go, the endings, that the latter will inevitably suggest.


These articles are a bit like our “Advent Calendar”. They will appear twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays on our blog, with the next one on 14 December.